Meet Siddharth Kalelkar


CSP-SM and CSP-PO Siddharth Kalelkar lives in Northampton, United Kingdom, and is the Agile coach and senior ScrumMaster for Vuykont Limited.

For you, what is the main difference between where you began as a CSM®, CSPO®, or CSD® and becoming a CSP®?

The CSP certification bears testimony to my having successfully engaged with organizations in their change and transformation into working in an Agile environment and implementing the tenets of the Agile philosophy. It also validates my commitment to and passion for Agile, my having deepened my knowledge and practices around Agile, and my interaction within the Scrum community.

What is your favorite part about becoming a CSP?

I could not have become a successful CSP without the active cooperation and support of my peers, themselves CSPs who are experienced in Agile. Collaborating with them and learning from their experiences was certainly the best part about achieving my CSP.

Give us an example of how the CSP certification has helped you in your career.

The CSP certification accords a greater respect, and not just within the community but even with clients. It shows that I have extensive knowledge and practical experience with Agile and Scrum. It raises the level of confidence in the client, who is looking to entrust a very important transition in their organization to someone who will deliver the desired outcomes.

How did you first find out about Scrum?

It was in 2007, when I was working on a project for a company headquartered in Canada (the project itself was in the U.K.). My colleague in Toronto called me to ask if I had “heard about Scrum.” I had not — and neither had he! So we both started learning together, ran a successful pilot on the project, and were hooked.

What do you find easiest about Scrum?

Certainly, the easiest thing about Scrum is the acceptance that one experiences when starting with a new team. At the grassroots level, a team new to Scrum absolutely loves the concepts and takes to it like a duck to water.

What do you find most difficult about Scrum?

There is nothing really difficult about Scrum, per se. But it does involve a mind shift and an even greater culture shift; it is this part that requires a skillful ScrumMaster to engage with the team, gain their confidence and trust, and coach and mentor them in the Agile philosophy. If that is done well, the team will soon graduate from “doing Agile” to “being Agile.” Patience and perseverance are key.

What’s your best/worst work experience using Scrum?

In 2014, I engaged in a “Change and Transformation” program with an organization that was 75 years in existence. It had been traditional (Prince2/Waterfall) for the previous 30 years; I was tasked with introducing Agile/Scrum. Commencing with an enormously successful pilot, I was able to make great inroads; establish, coach, and mentor three teams; and coach and hand-hold their in-house personnel till they achieved their own CSM and CSPO certifications (I “produced” two CSMs there). The project was awarded the Digital Britain 2014 award.

I haven’t had a bad, let alone “worst,” experience in Agile/Scrum.

How has using Scrum changed you?

Scrum has a significantly positive impact on anybody; in my experience, I think I have become better at tackling problems, applying innovative thinking, and being more positive.

If you could add one thing to Scrum, what would it be?

I wouldn’t mess about too much with the practices; Agile/Scrum “just works” — why try and fix what ain’t broke. That said, I think there is a need to educate the upper echelons in organizations, and I believe Scrum Alliance is addressing that .

Do you use Scrum in your life outside of work? If yes, how?

We (my family) are using Scrum, and quite successfully, in our home around routine chores, even shopping lists. It has been successful and now even my boys are enthusiastic.

What advice would you give to someone new to Scrum?

Above all, I would advocate having patience and perseverance — Rome was not built in a day. When you are introducing or implementing Scrum, bear in mind that you are chipping away at years, sometimes decades, of legacy thinking. Keep at it and, believe me, it will be one of the most satisfying experiences of your life.

What is your favorite quote? And why?

“As the Tree of Knowledge grows taller, it lowers its boughs so that others may partake of its fruits of Wisdom,” an ancient Indian saying. It reminds me that as I advance in Scrum, I must maintain humility and ensure that I make available the fruits of my learning to others in the community.